Communities in the West are set to become more integrated into the life of the University of the West Indies, through its Western Jamaica Ambassadorial Corps, comprising a group of leaders in the private and public sectors.
“Through the advocacy and involvement of our Ambassadors, we at Western Jamaica Campus will benefit from their advice, their partnership and their assistance in the growth of the institution,” stated Director of the Western Campus, Dr. Luz Longsworth, at the launch of the Corps, held on March 13, at the Iberostar Hotel, in Rose Hall, St. James.
“The community will also benefit from the growth of the campus and the development of programmes and human capital that will prepare our people as part of the solution to the economic, social and moral challenges that face us,” he added.
The 12 ‘Ambassadors’ are Custos of Westmoreland, Hon. Father Hartley Perrin; Executive Chairman of Caribbean Producers Jamaica Limited, Mark Hart; Dr. Barbara Salmon-Grandison of Cornwall Regional Hospital; Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Fund (NHF), Everton Anderson; Principal of Hampton School, Mrs. Heather Murray; Chief Executive Officer of Sandals Resorts International, Adam Stewart; General Manager at Round Hill Hotel and Villas, Omar Robinson; Howard Ward of Ward Power Tools; Yoni Epstein of Island Outsourcers; Ernest Grant of Rainforest Seafoods; Hope Markes of Kiwanis International, and Fred Smith of Exclusive Holidays.
The initiative is a project by final year students at the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC). It seeks to engage the individuals to foster good relations with the institution where communities in the area can see ongoing development.
“This Ambassadorial Corps will be a major plank in our strategy for the Western Jamaica campus of the UWI, to ensure that the campus plays a seminal role in the growth and development of the region, and listens to what the community needs and wants for its development,” Dr. Longsworth added.
Also giving his support to the initiative was Director of CARIMAC, Professor Hopeton Dunn, who spoke about the benefits that can be gained with the University working with communities.
Member of the CARIMAC student group, Janet Silvera, in giving an overview of the plan, stressed that it is “important to build the community that we live in.”
“We have seen what Mona has done to the communities around it, and we wanted to see the same in Western Jamaica, that is why we started the Corps. The ‘Ambassadors’ will select a Convenor from among themselves, and meet quarterly. Their term is for two years,” she added.
Guest speaker at the function, Ambassador to the United States, Professor Stephen Vasciannie, told the group that they should “keep the Western Jamaica Campus on its toes, even as you help to project the Campus in St. James, Hanover, Westmorland and St. Elizabeth.”
“I hope you will take the opportunity to engage with the students, and to assist the Campus in presenting high quality graduates to the world,” he urged.
Meanwhile, in his response on behalf of the ‘Ambassadors’, Mr. Stewart said that, “it is a huge honour (to serve), and we all pledge to make the Western campus proud.”
By Garfield Angus, JIS Reporter